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Title: Virtual help seeking in infertility
Author: Donnelly, Louise Sian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 8915
Awarding Body: Aston University
Current Institution: Aston University
Date of Award: 2009
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The aim of this thesis is to explore the infertile individual's use of the Internet and issues surrounding the debate on whether the Internet proves to be a useful tool or one that hinders healthcare. This was achieved by conducting a total of five studies that take a mixed methods and pragmatic approach to answering the overarching questions of the project. The first study explores the strengths and weaknesses of using the Internet for health. The aim of this is to investigate the reasons why people use the Internet, the frequency of use and importantly why it has become a tool in healthcare. The data was provided by four focus groups and was analysed using thematic analysis. The second study aims to extend this investigation to a wider population and to explore the attitudes of individuals toward ehealth by use of a questionnaire. The third study explores the function and impact of language on infertility and fertility website homepages by analysing the pages using discourse analysis. The fourth study then investigates the usability of these websites by analysing eye movements across the pages, responses to the system usability scale and by individual interviews. The final study in this thesis takes the issues of Internet use for infertile individuals further. It explores the experiential accounts of four women with an infertility diagnosis, who regularly use the Internet. It uses narrative analysis to explore the reasons for using the Internet, what they have gained from it and the impact that it has had on their lives. This thesis has identified that patient identity is changing and that this is aided by access to ehealth information. Participants were attracted to the Internet because of its immediacy, its convenience and because enables them to make informed decisions by accessing both medical information and sharing experiences with other infertile individuals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Psychology